Vote to Send Whistler’s Lifers Heliskiing

I’ve worked with most of the photographers who entered Whistler Blackcomb’s Deep Winter Photo Challenge and like and respect them all. So I wasn’t going to vote in the People’s Choice for Deep Winter. I hate giving my email to enter random contests. Everyone put on amazing shows. I was happy that Robin O’Neill won, because she blazed such a trail through my heart last year as the first she-photographer ever invited to compete. I had closure. I didn’t need to engage any further.

But when I chatted to Robin O’Neill yesterday, she told me that she’s just trailing behind Mason Mashon in the People’s Choice contest with one week of voting left, and she’s really hoping to win.

So she can take her athletes heliskiing.

I know Mason put his heart on the line too. And I’m sure he and his crew would love a day of heliskiing too.

But the Voleurz crew have, inshallah, next year.

Robin’s athletes are all over 75 years old. And they’re the people who built Whistler. Werner Himmelsbach. Peter Alder. Trudy Alder. Peter Morin. Betty Vogler.

So I voted. And I’m saying, why don’t you vote too? Send Karl Ricker heliskiing. How freaking cool.

Much as I love that any of the teams have a shot at a day heliskiing – they all deserve the playday,  after putting on such great shows – I get goosebumps thinking about those grey-haired Lifers, who have devoted their entire lives to this place, all hustling out of a helicopter, standing on top of a perfect peak as the bird flies away… with a pristine field of pow unrolling before them.

So that’s my pitch.

The best argument of all comes from an email Robin received on Monday:

Having just got back from possibly my last downhill trip – thinking of giving it up due to age – I am re-invigorated by the dignified photos of elders. Your work was inspiring and I am thinking of maybe another trip this season – two trips in a season, I haven’t done that in 10 years

At some point in our lives, we are no longer in the realm of ticking firsts… We start inhabiting a place where each trip, each adventure, each farewell, could be our last. A different kind of pioneering mentality is required. And that’s something to honour.

Trailblazing is what these elders of ours have done. I’d like to pay a little something back.

If you feel the same way, vote here.

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